PHOENIX, AZ: Starting Pitcher Josh Collmenter of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
After two Division Series games in which they looked overmatched, the Arizona Diamondbacks overwhelmed the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3, 8-1.
Hey, it turns out the Arizona Diamondbacks do know you run the bases counter-clockwise. After looking completely overmatched in Games 1 and 2 of their Division Series against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Diamondbacks pitched and fielded and pounded their way to an 8-1 victory in Game 3.
Before Tuesday's quadruple-header, someone asked me which Division Series featured the biggest pitching mismatch. Granted, I didn't think about it real hard. But my answer was "Shaun Marcum versus Josh Collmenter".
To be sure, Collmenter pitched well for the Diamondbacks this season, going 10-10 with a 3.38 ERA. But he's a rookie, he doesn't throw hard (at all), and just six months ago Baseball America didn't rank Collmenter among the Diamondbacks' 30 best prospects.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Meanwhile, Marcum's ERA this season was actually higher than Collmenter's, and he doesn't throw hard, either. But he's not a rookie and one of these years he's going to make a great deal of money as a free agent.
Shaun Marcum just feels like a better pitcher than Josh Collmenter.
Which doesn't mean he is. Either way, today's pitchers were evenly matched in all four contests, regardless of what the final scores might suggest. In this particular case, one good pitcher (Collmenter) pitched exceptionally well, and another (Marcum) did not. Actually, another pitched poorly.
So poorly, in fact, that this might have been Marcum's worst start all season. What might really worry the Brewers? The only other candidate for that title is Marcum's last start, against the Pirates just last week. In both starts, he lasted exactly 4⅔, gave up exactly seven runs and exactly three walks. The Pirates aren't as good as the Diamondbacks, but that game wasn't as important as this one.
I would be concerned, anyway.
Meanwhile, Kirk Gibson's probably feeling better about himself.
After Game 1, in which he allowed Ian Kennedy to give up a big home run to Prince Fielder, Gibson admitted that he'd made a mistake. What he didn't admit publicly was that rookie Paul Goldschmidt probably should have played first base instead of Lyle Overbay.
Goldschmidt did play in Game 2 -- according to Gibson, because he had a "hunch" -- and Goldschmidt homered in Game 2. It didn't make a difference in Game 2, but one hunch leads to another and, given the nod again in Game 3, Goldschmidt launched a sixth-inning grand slam off Marcum that turned a 3-1 affair into a blowout.
The Diamondbacks are still down in this series and they're still the underdogs. But if Kirk Gibson's learned a lesson or three in his first postseason as a manager, maybe the underdogs still have some bite to go along with their hiss.